A diamond’s clarity is a description of the diamond’s natural internal purity. It refers to the number and size of the microscopic imperfections all diamonds carry. Gemologists refer to these imperfections as inclusions or blemishes.
Of the Four C’s a diamond’s clarity has the least impact on a diamonds appearance. Diamonds with the least or smallest inclusions receive the highest clarity grades; however, because the imperfections are microscopic, they do not affect a diamond’s beauty in any noticeable way.
The Five factors that are taken into consideration when a diamond is assigned a clarity grade are:
Clarity Grades Defined By the GIA:
Flawless (FL): Flawless diamonds have no inclusions or imperfections when viewed under a 10x magnification by a skilled grader.
Internally Flawless (IF): A diamond with no inclusions, only a few blemishes when viewed under a 10x magnification.
Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2): Diamonds that contain minute inclusions that are difficult for a skilled grader to see under a 10x magnification. An inclusion in a VVS1 diamond are extremely difficult to see face-up, and may be only visible through a pavilion. However, inclusions in a VVS2 diamond are very difficult to see.
Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2): Diamonds containing minor inclusions that range from difficult (VS1) to somewhat easy (VS2) to see under a 10x magnification. Typical inclusions in VS diamonds include small crystals, feathers and distinct groups of pinpoints.
Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2): Diamonds of SI clarity contains noticeable inclusions and are easy or very easy to see under a 10x magnification. The inclusions are usually centrally located.
Included (I1, I2 and I3): Diamonds in the ‘I’ range contain inclusions that are obvious under 10x magnification. These inclusions can often times be seen face-up without magnification, sometimes affecting the stone’s durability.
A term used to describe a diamond or an inclusion that is not visible to the unaided eye when the diamond is held face-up. Nearly all VS clarity diamonds are eye-clean; most SI1 and SI2 clarity diamonds are eye-clean as well. Even I1 clarity diamonds are eye-clean.
Types of Clarity Characteristics:
Crystal: Another mineral crystal contained in the diamond
Needle: A long thin crystal
Pinpoint: a very tiny crystal that looks like a dot. Often congregate in clusters or clouds